Hansard: Appropriation Bill : Debate on Vote No 6 – Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 07 Jun 2011
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
WEDNESDAY, 08 JUNE 2011
PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE
The Extended Public Committee met in Committee Room E249 at 10:00.
The House Chairperson, Mr C T Frolick, as Chair, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Debate on Vote No 6 – Performance Monitoring and Evaluation:
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION: Hon Chairperson, hon members, hon chairpersons of the committees, Deputy Minister, Dina Pule, Director-General Dr Sean Phillips, senior management and staff of the department present, invited guests, it is on a sad note that this inaugural Budget Vote is delivered while the country mourns the passing away of a heroine of our struggle and a stalwart, Mama [Mother.] Albertina Sisulu. Mama [Mother.] Sisulu strived for a South Africa that is just, nonracial, nonsexist and democratic. She wanted our people to lead a better life, and her contribution to our society is immeasurable. This Budget Vote is dedicated to the fruitful life she lived and shared with all of us. May her soul rest in peace!
Today, we also deliver this inaugural Budget Vote during the Youth Month; a month dedicated to youth development. The 16 June, this year, marks the 35th anniversary of the Soweto and related uprisings in the country. It is the month in which young people braved all odds to fight for equal and quality education for all. It is also against this background that education is among the five key priorities of government, of which the youth of 1976 fought for.
We, today, deliver the first Budget Vote of a newly formed Department for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, in the Presidency, following the allocation of an independent Vote to the department as from 01 April this year.
Let me take this opportunity to also welcome the Deputy Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, hon Dina Pule, to the PME family, whose appointment has enhanced and brought new energy to the work of the department. The Deputy Minister brings to the family, her extensive experience in government, coupled with passion for service delivery to our people. Both the Deputy Minister and I look forward to a fruitful working relationship with Parliament in the delivery of our mandate.
We are of the view that monitoring and evaluation has the potential to make a very significant contribution to good governance. However, the realisation of this potential is dependent on the way in which the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are designed and implemented.
Good intentions are not enough – badly designed monitoring and evaluation initiatives often result in more negative than positive consequences. Our system is based on negotiated and agreed upon processes, outputs and targets within the government.
In my address to the House last year, I introduced a position paper titled, Improving Government Performance: Our approach. The position paper clarifies our mandate with regard to the outcomes approach. Over the past year, we have made good progress with the implementation of the outcomes approach. Before describing this progress in more detail, I should mention that we are now engaged in two additional mandates.
With regard to the outcomes approach, the process has involved the entire government agreeing on a limited set of outcomes, as strategic focus areas for the whole government. We also developed the whole of government plans or delivery agreements, for each of the outcomes. The main aim of the outcomes approach is to improve planning, implementation and co-ordination between the three spheres of government, with regard to cross-cutting priorities.
The outcomes approach is therefore concerned with the monitoring and evaluating of the performance of the government as a whole. In addition to the outcomes approach, we are monitoring performance at the levels of individual departments and municipalities and service delivery on the ground, or what we call the front-line service delivery. Cutting across these three levels, we have a mandate to promote good performance, monitor and evaluate practices across government, which include the development of improved administrative data systems. I am now pleased to present the progress we have recorded to date, and our future plans in each of these areas.
Starting with the outcomes approach, we have worked with other departments to identify the outputs required to achieve the 12 outcomes, and set targets for measurable indicators and progress.
The President has also signed performance agreements with all Ministers, based on the outcomes and targets.
National and provincial departments, and municipalities, were engaged in a consultative process to develop detailed delivery agreements for each of the outcomes. These delivery agreements were all completed and signed by November last year.
The delivery agreements, which we can call DA for the honour of the Leader of the Opposition, described outputs, activities, and inputs required to achieve the outcomes. They also set targets for measurable performance indicators, and identified roles and responsibilities of individual departments, both national and provincial, including municipalities. They are a major achievement in that, for the first time, we have a set of interdepartmental and intergovernmental strategic plans for key cross-cutting outcomes. The process of producing these plans or delivery agreements was itself useful. It resulted in a higher level of understanding challenges, which other departments face, and how the work of different departments affect each other.
We have since published the new programme of action, based on delivery agreements, on both the government and Presidency websites. To date, they reflect nine of the 12 delivery agreements. The other three delivery agreements, for health, rural development and employment outcomes, are currently in the process of being captured on the system. Final work is being done on the detailed targets and indicators for the health and rural development outcomes. Adjustments are also being made to the employment delivery agreement, to ensure that it adequately reflects commitments made recently in the New Growth Path.
As we have committed, the implementation of the delivery agreements is monitored by Cabinet itself. In this regard, we have instituted a process whereby the outcome is that co-ordinating Ministers report quarterly to Cabinet.
I am pleased to announce that the first reports were assessed by Cabinet during February and March this year, as a pilot. We are now ready to consider the second set of reports this month. Its contents will be used to update the programme of action on the website. This is an important step for the public to be able to monitor progress and hold government accountable.
The quarterly reports focus on key results, challenges and the required changes and interventions. They therefore ensure that Cabinet regularly focuses on assessing progress, with the achievement of key priorities of government.
Some of the highlights, per outcome from the first set of quarterly reports, were as follows: In basic education, we have seen the finalisation of the teacher development plan, development of standard workbooks in literacy and numeracy aimed at learners in Grades 1 to 6, and the preparation and roll out of annual national assessments.
In the critical area of health, of note has been the progress in the immunisation of children against polio and measles. The country's response to HIV and Aids has been very successful, with large numbers of people tested for HIV and at least 1, 3 million of them placed on treatment. Tuberculosis diagnosis and management is also improving.
With regard to the outcome on safety and security, we have seen good progress in reducing the number of targeted serious crimes such as murder, rape and bank robberies. The number of police personnel has been significantly increased, and a number of additional regional and district courts have been established. The latter has led to a marked reduction in backlog of cases.
With the adoption of the New Growth Path, new impetus has been given to the outcome on employment and inclusive growth. Public works programmes have gained momentum with 388 000 work opportunities created between April and September 2010, plus the 90 000 individuals on the Community Work Programme.
In the outcome on skills, the emphasis has been on drafting qualifications standards, gazetting new programmes, discussing with business, reviewing of policy and regulations, and enrolment planning. Tangible improvements can be witnessed in enrolment at further education and training, FET, colleges and the number of artisans trained, albeit not yet at the desired pace.
Economic infrastructure development also notched up some important achievements, with the development and approval, by Cabinet, of the Integrated Resource Plan and the Independent Systems Market Operator Bill, to stimulate greater private investment in electricity generation.
Importantly, over 100 000 additional poor households were given electricity connections. Additionally, six regional bulk water projects have been constructed, eight dams rehabilitated and 3000 water license applications finalised. The achievement of all the outcomes requires an efficient, effective and development-orientated public service. In this regard, the centre of government departments has identified a number of areas to focus on improving management capacity of government. The planning and budgeting processes of government have been aligned to the outcomes approach.
Building on recent improvements in service delivery at the Department of Home Affairs, there is now focus on reducing waiting times for pensions, hospital queues, licensing centres and social grants. In addition, departments are being supported to put in place service delivery standards, and develop and implement service delivery improvement plans. These are some of the indications that we are indeed significantly changing on how government is working, as we have committed. The Deputy Minister will later address you on progress made in some of the outcomes and the work we are doing in monitoring frontline services.
Of course, the implementation of an initiative as ambitious as the outcomes approach, has not been without challenges, and all of us, including Parliament, need to work together to address these challenges. Our engagements in relation to similar processes in other countries indicate that these challenges are not unique to us in South Africa.
Firstly, South Africa is not different to the rest of the world in its struggle to achieve a real joined-up government. Delivery agreements represent an important step forward in the process of moving towards a more integrated government, but we still have a long way to go in this process. Full integration requires the development of a new culture in government - a culture, which recognises that real co-ordination involves a negotiation process in which all sides need to make compromises.
In this regard, it is important that the strategic plans, which departments submit to Parliament, should reflect their roles, responsibilities and targets as agreed to in the various delivery agreements. All departmental strategic plans should indicate how their work contributes to the various outcomes, impacts on outcomes such as employment and the environment, and has been planned with the consideration of the objectives of other departments in mind.
We have said that given our limited resources, we have to ensure that the state is prudent with its budget. Many of the quarterly reports mentioned funding constraints. And there is a need for greater consensus across government on the difficult choices, which have to be made. This is for us to can achieve our key objectives within our budgetary and other resource constraints.
Secondly, the implementation of an outcomes-based approach requires the development of a new management culture and management capacities in government. Our public service is only just starting to grapple with the concepts and methodologies of results-based management, such as using theories of change and logic models. It is in order to thoroughly and systematically think through the relationships between activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts.
In addition, results-based management requires the government to have a minimum level of information management systems in place, in order to produce the required data for analysis. In many departments, these systems are not yet in place and the required data is not yet available. As a result of lack of good quality data, there is room for improvement in the quality of delivery agreements and quarterly progress reports, which are being submitted to Cabinet.
The outcomes approach is therefore itself a catalyst to improving the performance of government. It requires public service managers to engage in activities such as results-based planning, measurement of key performance indicators, and analysis of the reasons why targets are not being met.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we are grappling with the challenge of balancing the need to co-ordinate, standardise and drive the outcomes approach, from the Presidency, at the centre of government, on the one hand, with the need to ensure that departments take real ownership of the approach on the other.
One of the common perverse effects of performance measurement is that there is a tendency for managers to focus on compliance with externally imposed performance management systems. This is opposed to taking ownership of the system and using it to improve the performance of their departments.
We will only be able to say that the outcomes approach has been successful, if we can move beyond compliance, and if most of the managers in our departments and municipalities have taken ownership of the approach.
We have committed to involve all key role-players in the process of producing delivery agreements, but we have not been very successful. In this regard, we have started to engage in discussions with a national nongovernmental organisation, NGO, umbrella body, and other representatives of the organised civil society. It is with the view to finding a suitable way in which to involve organisations outside government, in those outcomes in which they play a key role. I will now turn to the monitoring of performance of individual departments and municipalities.
This is one of the outputs in outcome 12 of the Delivery Agreement, and is part of the process of ensuring that government has the capacity to achieve the outcomes.
We have developed and piloted the implementation of a standard performance assessment tool, to be used to assess the performance of national and provincial departments and municipalities. Since then, we have been working with the Offices of the Premiers, National Treasury, Department of Public Service and Administration, DPSA, Auditor-General, and Public Service Commission, to develop the tool.
The tool will utilise the results of existing assessment mechanisms developed by the National Treasury, DPSA and Public Service Commission. It involves a combination of self-assessment and independent assessment by our department or the Offices of the Premiers. We are also working with the KwaZulu-Natal, KZN, provincial government, to pilot the application of the tool to municipalities in that province.
We have also piloted the process of applying the tool in the Presidency, National Treasury and the DPSA. We are currently working with the Office of the Premier, in Mpumalanga, for them to pilot the application of the tool to the departments in the province. We are now at the stage of going back to Cabinet with proposals for wide-spread application of the assessment tool.
The focus of the tool is on the quality of management practices in a department, including areas such as financial, human resource, supply chain and strategic management, and governance. The assessments draw on the Auditor-General's reports, but provide a broader picture of managing performance. The tool establishes benchmarks for management of performance and measures departments against these benchmarks. The application of the tool assists managers to identify areas where improvements are required. It will also enable the Presidency and the Offices of the Premiers to focus on additional actions and support to improve the performance of such departments.
A decision has been taken to, in future, link the performance assessment of heads of departments to the results of performance assessments of their departments. We are currently working with the DPSA and Public Service Commission on an implementation plan in this regard.
During the elections, we have noted with concern the quality of delivery of infrastructure in municipalities and by government in general. As a department, we are working together with National Treasury on a mechanism to monitor holistically the implementation of infrastructure delivery, by government at all levels. The monitoring, which will include sanitation provision, includes physical verification of provided data by government departments rather than reliance on reports. This process is designed to avoid what we have noticed with the discovery of open toilets.
Cabinet has decided to put local government as a standing item on its agenda, so that we can monitor performance from a national level on a regular basis. In addition, the President will engage Premiers on how to improve the monitoring of the performance of municipalities, in terms of section 139 of the Constitution.
While municipalities are settling with new leadership at the helm, we have to begin with the implementation of the local government delivery agreement. The main thrust of the agreement is to achieve a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system.
The outcome has a number of key pillars. One of them is the recognition that municipalities are not the same. They are different in terms of their capacities, revenue base, population and economy sizes, and their broader social context. When supporting municipalities to improve performance, the national government will take this into account. It will not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach, which does not work.
Other key pillars include the strengthening of the administrative and financial capability of municipalities, to ensure greater transparency, fighting corruption, promoting good financial management and strengthening community participation. The delivery agreement also emphasises the need to ensure that all critical positions are filled by competent and qualified individuals.
We are indeed changing how government works. We cannot afford to fail; we can make mistakes but should be able to correct them and move on. We owe that to the stalwarts, like MaSisulu [Mrs Sisulu], who fought for an equal and prosperous society and our people to improve their lives for the better. We must work smarter, faster and effectively within the available resources.
Turning to the budget, the department has been allocated R75 million for the 2011-12 financial year. Of this, R50 million will be spent on compensation of employees, R21 million on goods and services, and R3 million on payments for capital assets.
The department has four budget programmes, which correspond with the four branches of the department, and the budget has been allocated to these programmes as follows: Administration, R22 million; outcomes monitoring and evaluation, R24 million; integrated public performance data systems, R21 million; and Public Sector Administration oversight, R6 million.
Finally, I would like to thank the Deputy Minister, director-general and all the staff in the department, for their hard work and dedication during the past year. It is my pleasure to commend the Budget Vote to the House. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr E M SOGONI / ARM / END OF TAKE
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION
Mr E M SOGONI:
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Mr E M SOGONI
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Hon Chairperson, I would like to convey the DA's saddest condolences to the Sisulu family on the loss of Mama Albertina Sisulu. I will do that formally and more appropriately tomorrow afternoon. Hon Minister, improved service delivery is key to addressing the legacy of the past, where certain communities were forgotten and had to endure a miserable existence of disadvantage and neglect. This is precisely why it is the responsibility of this government to prioritise delivery above politics. A responsible postapartheid government is one that delivers and that is accountable to all the people of our nation.
We recognise and respect this enormous responsibility. This is why we support any feasible initiative that seeks to promote proper service delivery through monitoring and evaluation.
Ek moet ongelukkig sê dat in dié geval is die doeltreffendheid van hierdie departement en die ministerie gelykstaande aan 'n olifant wat 'n muis gebaar het.
Never before has so much fanfare and hype around the creation of a new department, first "moth balled" in the Presidency, then given semistand-alonestatus since April 2011, delivered so little.
Monitoring and evaluation and the success thereof is based on authentic oversight, measurement and identification of deficiencies where after proactive steps are taken to address the challenges that constrain the desired outcomes.
This portfolio has, until 1 June 2011, not once received oversight, nor been held to account, despite its promulgation in January 2010. The last minute referral of this department's strategic plans on 23 May 2011 to the appropriation committee, with a request for conferral with the Portfolio Committees of Public Service and Administration and that of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, is blight on the sincerity and commitment of this Parliament to proper oversight and accountability.
Let me define how important oversight and accountability is in a constitutional democracy. I will make use of important historical definitions from some developed democracies as well as important domestic opinions in this regard.
John Stuart Mill, a British utilitarian philosopher, insisted that oversight was the key feature of a meaningful representative body and I quote:
The proper office of a representative assembly is to watch and control the government.
A young scholar future United States President, Woodrow Wilson, equated oversight with lawmaking, which was usually seen as the supreme function of a legislature and I quote:
Quite as important as legislation is the vigilant oversight of administration.
James Madison, regarded as the father of the American constitution, described the system as "subordinate distribution of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner that each may be a check on the other".
In case these examples seem somewhat esoteric, let me use two local definitions and I quote:
Parliament's priority constitutional function is to legislate. Yes, but legislation is not worth the paper it is written on unless Parliament also exercise its constitutional function and sensitises the implementation of our laws and the actions of the executive in bringing the law to life in communities.
This was said by hon Joan Fubbs, ANC Member of Parliament, in a Parliamentary debate in June 2008 entitled, "oversight is an instrument of accountability that underpins policy implementation and provision of services in a people's democracy".
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the Deputy President of South Africa, hon Kgalema Motlanthe had this to say about oversight and accountability at the annual, Association of Public Accounts Committees, conference in September 2009 and I quote:
There is a global trend towards greater openness in governments' financial management and around the world there are calls to strengthen public accountability and to re-examine how transparency and good governance can best be achieved.
He went further to say and I quote:
Research shows that societies, in which accountability is an integral way of life, will experience higher levels of confidence on the part of the electorate, business, organised labour and investors in its system of government.
This illustrates that there is unanimity, that effective oversight and accountability enhances service delivery and promotes transparency and trust.
Mr Minister, why has this department flattered only to deceive? Why should the President be moved to say on 15 May 2011, just four days before the local government elections and more than two years after his election as President, that his door-to-door electioneering, in some of the poorest communities, over the past three months, had exposed an ugly side of South Africa that government officials did not mention in their service delivery reports to him? He also said that now, he understands why communities protest.
Is it simply a case of none so blind, or is it because your department of monitoring and evaluation is not doing its job properly?
The fact that the ministerial performance agreements of ministers with one outcome, such as health and education, and those with multiple outcomes, with relevant agreed high-level outputs and measurable metrics for these outcomes are not made public and that there was such a delay in signing them, without any discernable punitive measures for noncompliance, serve only to emasculate the President. It can be used as a metaphor for this department's poor performance as a whole. Poor delivery, secrecy and lack of accountability have become the hallmarks of this administration and your department. They contrive to undermine the state's ability to deliver appropriate, effective, economic and efficient services.
Why are there no performance agreements with Deputy Ministers, Premiers, MECs, Mayors and executive councillors? Are these positions the preserve of cadres that are offered free-loader status on the gravy train, without any measurable outcomes responsibility? I would suggest that this is one of the main reasons for service delivery failure in our country.
What role does the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act play in the responsibility and accountability chain in your department's role of monitoring and evaluation? Are the prescripts of noncompliance ever applied when responsible authorities are found wanting with regard to the so-called outcomes-orientated assessment methodology of your so-called department?
You will detect more than a hint of derision in my contribution but it is built on frustration that your department and that of the Presidency, have to date, escaped any kind of meaningful oversight and thus have a questionable accountability track record. This was monumentally reinforced last week by what can, at best, be described as an oversight charade, where notice of a meeting to consider your department's strategic plan was last minute, which was exacerbated by the lack of accompanying documents. The chairperson of that committee stands here today and tries to justify that one meeting that started late, that, in an hour or so, considered the strategic plan of your department.
Yindlalo le iqhubeka apha.
Your departmental task under your leadership is to conduct oversight, monitoring and evaluation of national line function departments and the other two spheres of government. Your mandate is somewhat simplified by the fact that the monitoring and evaluation function is reduced to 12 priority delivery areas. However, even this refined area of monitoring and evaluation is compromised by the fact that all the responsible people, over which you conduct oversight and monitoring, do not have performance agreements. Simply put, you can't monitor and manage if you can't measure performance against a public commitment.
How can this department ask that Parliament and the people of our country take its work seriously, when it presided over the National Youth Development Agency's, Nyda, hosting of a state sponsored totalitarian youth festival? This entity reports directly to you, and yet, to date, you have yet to express yourself on this calamitous youth festival. You have ducked all questions about this embarrassing jamboree, by hiding behind the fact that Cabinet is yet to consider and express itself on the outcomes of this festival.
Why should Cabinet express itself on the outcomes of a festival held by the National Youth Development Agency that you are responsible for?
Why should Cabinet express an opinion about something that you are directly responsible for? Why should Cabinet express an opinion about the spending of a R100 million? Why did the Lotteries Board fall over itself to fund this farcical conference, when other important community service organisations that are truly outcomes-focused, have to wait years for a response, let alone funding?
How does this administration intend to convince us that it is committed to improving delivery and preventing the conflation of party and state, when the President has yet to sign the Municipal Systems Amendment Bill? The President is yet to sign that Bill because they want to first appoint municipal managers after this election and then sign the Bill after those municipal managers have been appointed.
Your department strikes me as nothing more than a duplication of what line function departments, the Public Service Commission, the Auditor-General's office, the Presidency and the offices of the Premiers are supposed to do. Not to mention independent nongovernmental organisations that assess service delivery and governance issues such as the Public Service Accountability Monitor and others. Your department's budget has seen a year-on-year increase of 53%, your staff compliment is set to reach 200 warm bodies and yet we experience an escalation of service delivery protests. The question that must be raised is: Why are the service delivery protests escalating if your department is improving delivery?
You say that your department won't set its own or duplicate evaluation systems up and that you intend working with existing agencies to monitor and evaluate performance outcomes versus outputs. Commitment, compliance and co-operation from these agencies are very important variables that will determine your success in this regard.
Provinces and departmental heads will also have to show an appetite to have their own provinces and departments assessed. Lack of delivery, coupled with corruption, are inhibiting factors and could be counterintuitive with the worst kind of unintended consequences. Provinces like the one I come from will most certainly not willingly expose their delivery shortcomings at the cost of public exposure.
Abasoze babhentsise, eMpuma Koloni; abasoze.
An example of how difficult your task will be in this regard is the internal complaints directorate of the South African Police Service. The Internal Complains Directorate occupies the most hated status in the Police Force and it has been the genesis of Hollywood movies over years, in that evaluating your own, is the most difficult thing to do. If you have no proper appetite for it, it will yield no results.
This situation is exacerbated by the fact that our own President himself has shown an intense aversion for the glare of public scrutiny. The manner in which the intended secrecy legislation in the guise of the Protection of Information Bill has been railroaded through Parliament, despite the fact that it flies in the face of the prescripts of its predecessor legislation, the Promotion of Access to Information Act, is a salutary reminder that the ANC regime says one thing, but means something entirely different.
The classification of crucial documentation that would enable proper monitoring and evaluation will be the unintended consequence of this draconian legislation. What's more, you will come up against corrupt cadres that will not want you sniffing around their middens, their corruption middens. People like Nceba Faku, who exhorted ANC supporters to "Tshisa i-Herald, tshisa". Or are they going to say "Tshisa, u-Chabane, tshisa" or "Tshisa i-DPME, tshisa"?
Ngoba abazi kufuna ukubhentsisa aba bantu.
The DPME must also be honest with itself and the public when it encounters good service delivery.According to the prescripts, it should be given the necessary recognition.
Mr H T MAGAMA: Chair, on a point of order: Is it Parliamentary for a hon member to threaten another member to "tshisa"?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON: I will make a ruling during the process of the sitting. Proceed, hon member.
The LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: I hope I will have protection on my time, because it is certainly not Parliamentary to exhort people to "tshisa, tshisa". Where we encounter good delivery, we must recognise it. The President of this country was affronted by the fact that DA-led administrations had won national awards. We must not shy away from …
... into entle intle; into embi imbi. [Kwaqhwatywa.]
Finally, this department has stated its commitment to improving efficiency and eliminating wastage. However, the actual work of this department is duplicating what line function departments should be doing and if there was proper oversight of each and every line function department, in all three spheres of government, your department would be redundant.
So, far, from streamlining the process of delivery, you are in effect adding an additional, unaffordable bureaucratic layer. This, combined with the fact that you continue to grow the funding for the NYDA, without any tangible or visible outcomes on the state of the unemployed youth of our country and that there are at least four other government units established to reduce the level of corruption, all speaks of spending without the necessary integrity and desired outcomes.
What, for example, are the roles of the interministerial committee on anticorruption, the anticorruption group, the anticorruption unit and the multiagency working group, if your department is a fully functional unit that assesses outcomes according to budget? I will tell you, despite all of these so-called corruption busting units and your own departments lofty ideals, …
...imali isehla ngemilenze.
Corruption continues to make poor people poorer.
Mr Sogoni talked about a developmental state. He said that developmental state orientated budgetary processes improve the lives of the poor. I want to give you two examples that illustrate just how poor management and poor implementation impact on mitigating development and improving poor people's lives.
The first one is the Extended Public Works Programme, EPWP that is supposed to create jobs, is run by the Department of Public Works. They only spent 59% of the EPWPs budget during the last financial year.
Secondly, just one project in the Department of Health: They had to pay R254 million in interest, for late payment to a supplier of a hospital in Soweto.
This kind of management and lack of monitoring and evaluation will keep poor people poorer.
In conclusion, let me say that despite the Minister honouring our party with the very important acronym for delivery agreement, the DA cannot support this budget because we see no value in your department today. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr L RAMATLAKANE / Src(Afr, Eng)/ UNH (Xh) / END OF TAKE
THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, I rise on behalf of Cope to offer some comments regarding Budget Vote No 6 – Department for Monitoring and Evaluation, which is R75,79 million and will grow to R160,442 million over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, period.
Over the past two years, since the appointment of the Minister in the Presidency, the committee was mandated to provide and to play a monitoring role. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Order! Hon members, please don't converse aloud.
Mr L RAMATLAKANE: Yes, it is good to have an executive oversight; however it is equally bad to have an executive playing oversight over itself. Our Parliament has adopted an oversight model covering the entire executive, but it struggled to allocate a committee over this function.
Chairperson, at the onset let me say that Cope supports the monitoring and evaluation towards government programme. However, we want to see value for money across the board.
It is imperative that progress should be measured and that the required quality is realised. It is our collective task to measure the allocated budget against the expected timelines established. It entails that evaluation is done so that we know where changes and priorities should be made.
Our Constitution should help us locate this Budget Vote No 6 debate appropriately. Section 195 and 196 provide mechanisms to monitor and evaluate the work within government sections, especially section 196(4)(b) when we deal with Public Service Commission. And it confirms that, and I will quote: "to investigate, monitor and evaluate the organisation and administration, and the personnel practices, of the public service". Also the Act 65 of 1998, it is instructive of similar in the same direction.
It is very clear that the Public Service Commission function and the function of this Ministry are the same. We are concerned about the duplication of functions and budget. Moreover, we are concerned that monitoring and evaluation seems to be personnel driven rather than system driven.
As we speak the departments are still battling to define clearly measurable objectives, thereby making evaluation a difficult task. As we debate this budget personnel in the public service are still lagging behind with compliance. Whether we look at the issue of Director-General and the non-signing of performance agreement or we look at the Ministers who have to enforce compliance, we still see noncompliance.
The Auditor-General's Report, which has been tabled, makes provision for the monitoring and evaluation to achieve the optimal value for money. When you look closely if the Minister for monitoring and evaluation has the power to enforce compliance, the answer is, no. Instead the department will refer its assessments and findings to other agencies.
We are very worried that what may seem to be a system driven by process may just become a top heavy personnel human driven, which bloat and increase the current expenditure with the high cost. We can't help but to ask this question; where is the origin of this model. We are aware that there are no clear guidelines, and that norms and standards are yet to be developed.
We are worried that the Ministry is not vocal when service delivery in education falls apart and that when the education department in the Eastern Cape drops thousands of learners without transport, monitoring and evaluation is silent. We are yet to hear what has happened with the thousands of call centre's complaints that have been submitted.
The country's data system remains a challenge at local, provincial and national level. Statistics are not up to date and not accurate. This would provide confusion. The possibility of conflicting results of public service and monitoring is clear. If this happened in Parliament, Members of Parliament would be left horrified.
To end, we must make a call for government to reconsider if money will be well spent by expansion or whether money would be best deployed towards service delivery. If this is not seriously considered, our people will continue to stamp their feet demanding quality of services.
The Congress of the People supports the monitoring and the value for money programme. However, we do not support lauding public service for no better result of the improvement of services and the lives of our people. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Hon members, a point of order was raised to ask whether it was parliamentary to ask a Member of Parliament to shisa or burn something. In fact, the hon member, the Leader of the Opposition, was asking a rhetorical question which in the context cannot be construed as inciting anyone to burn anything. Therefore, his remarks were not unparliamentary. [Applause.]
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY (Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency): Chairperson, on your ruling, is there no mechanism to ask me if I felt threatened or not. Because, what happens if I feel threatened, in what might be considered light, and I would not be able to perform my duties here in the Chamber because another member has incited members to shisa?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Order! Hon members, I have made a ruling on the point of order that was raised; and I am saying it was not unparliamentary. I want to say to the hon Minister, the context in which the hon Leader of the Opposition was raising the matter was the base upon which we arrived at that particular decision. If the Minister feels really threatened there are channels that could be followed to raise the matter further. But for now, the ruling stands. [Laughter.]
Mr N SINGH... ///tfm/// END OF TAKE
Mr L RAMATLAKANE
Mr N SINGH: Chairperson, thank you. I certainly don't feel threatened standing here before this committee.
Chairperson, hon Segoni referred to the national democratic revolution. I agree. I agree that what we need is a revolution. We need a revolution that promotes a work ethic and accountability within the state machinery. The implementation of that lies squarely on the shoulders of the hon Minister and this department. It is a heavy responsibility but it is one that they have to undertake.
The hon Minister also spoke about education being a priority. I think all of us were saddened – and this comes through monitoring and evaluation – when we saw on national television the kind of things that are happening in Kwa-Dukuza, where three people were killed, allegedly through police brutality. I mean, this reminds one of 1976, and the Soweto riots.
I think, hon Minister, monitoring and evaluation must also include monitoring and evaluating the work of the Independent Complaints Directorate and the way they investigate these complaints against policemen.
When this department was created, we supported Budget Vote 6. We supported the creation of this department. We still do, because we believe it has a useful purpose in the South African context. It has a complementary role that it needs to play to support other departments.
However, we believe that it must not take away the roles and responsibilities that every other department or municipality has. What we would like to see are norms and standards being established so that Premiers and Ministers of local government can compel – because the Constitution allows you to do that, hon Minister – other departments to perform.
You see, we've got the Deputy Auditor-General in the House. What we don't want to see, hon Chair and hon Minister, is when reports like these come up. I have a report here – a report of the Auditor-General on an investigation into certain alleged procurement irregularities at the Department of Water Affairs.
Now, we get this increasingly. Municipal managers are not performing. Managers within departments at provincial and national level are not performing.
So, while we monitor and evaluate what they do, it doesn't take rocket science to indicate to us that toilets are not being built properly or schools are not being constructed properly, like in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga, or was it Free State? It was some other area.
What is imperative of us as government...
Mr N SINGH: When their conversation is over I'll carry on, Chair.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Order! Order! Proceed, hon member.
Mr N SINGH: Thank you Chair. I hope I get injury time and you yellow card those two hon members!
What is required is an indication of what happens after it is detected that an official or officials have not been performing.
Yesterday, the hon President was in the Eastern Cape, and so were you and you looked very nice and we heard you on TV. We heard the President berating certain teachers. What will happen to those teachers? Next year you will find that that ordinary teacher has been promoted to the post of principal somewhere. You find director-generals of one department being promoted to another department.
What we need to do is ensure that we focus on what happens after we find these people who are not meeting their responsibilities. It is also a matter of concern – but not for the Minister – that Parliament has not, as yet, put an oversight committee in place. It is quite ironic that this department is called Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, and yet there is no parliamentary committee to monitor and evaluate this department.
On 20 April last year, the Speaker of Parliament and the Chair of Chairs who was sitting here earlier wrote to all us. They wanted a multiparty committee to be put in place to look at an oversight committee over the Presidency.
A year has gone by. Nothing has happened. Parliament is failing in its duty to ensure that we, hon members, have oversight over all departments and all committees.
We are a bit concerned that there is a lack of resources to this department, because the hon Minister needs resources. Through the Chair, you need manpower, hon Minister. If you want to monitor, you need manpower, and we hope that Treasury is able to ensure that more funds are provided for this department.
In conclusion, I agree with you – through the Chair – hon Minister, that good intentions are not enough. We need to take action, drastic action, against people who think that working for the state is like having a holiday. They come to work, go to sleep, and that the end of the day for them.
We will support this Vote. Thank you.
The DEPUTY MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY / nvs / END OF TAKE
Mr N SINGH
The DEPUTY MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Hon Chairperson, chairpersons of the committees, hon Minister, Collins Chabane, hon members, distinguished guests, the Director-General, DG, senior officials of the department, comrades and friends, I'm pleased and honoured to be part of the first budget since the inception of the Ministry in the Presidency: Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency. May I also take this opportunity to thank the Minister for welcoming me in the department.
President Jacob Zuma has commanded us to be the engine and his endeavour to change how government works. Indeed, as a Ministry and a department we have taken this mandate very seriously. In the past few months I have been visiting different provinces and state institutions to brief and to explain to them our mandate and solicit their support in building a better society.
I must say the support and enthusiasm has been overwhelming. I will deal with the outcomes of my visits in detail later in my address. As the Minister said June has been declared youth month and it is very significant for us to present our Budget Vote during this month as a Ministry which is also responsible for youth affairs.
This year's youth months is held under the theme," Youth Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime". The 16th June 1976 remains an unforgettable milestone in our country's struggle for national liberation because the youth of that time unequivocally expressed their preparedness to dedicate their lives to the liberation of South Africa. The youth of our country took to the streets against the unjust policies of the past and most importantly they were struggling for a single, free and compulsory education for all.
The youth of 1976 filled with the conviction to build a democratic, nonracist and nonsexist South Africa belonging to all who live in it protested against white apartheid regime and the then status quo. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the 16th June 1976 Soweto and other related uprisings.
Today's youth activism is directed towards successfully combating poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment and HIV/Aids. While the youth of 1976 fought for freedom and the creation of democratic state, today's youth is focussed on building personal and the country's economic development.
As Minister, Chabane earlier mentioned that we have received quarterly reports on key results and challenges that require changes and interventions. This is based on our successful implementation of our outcomes approach. We are indeed confident that we are making good progress and challenges we face are not insurmountable. Cabinet has considered the first set of reports on the outcomes.
On frontline service delivery monitoring allow me to focus on the key mandate of this government which is service delivery with special focus and attention to frontline service delivery monitoring. For the past year we have largely been focused on the outcomes approach but we have recently started to put more focus on frontline service delivery monitoring.
The aim of frontline service delivery monitory is to both affirm good performance and assist departments, municipalities and entities to improve service delivery points which are performing poorly. Collecting information directly from users of government services and from service delivery points is crucial for government to continuously verify if it is meeting the expectations of citizens and to identify where government is doing well and where improvements are needed.
Again, we are implementing this mandate in close co-operation with the offices of the premiers which monitor frontline service delivery at provincial level and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which monitors municipalities.
Our frontline service delivery monitoring programme has two elements in it. First, visits by government officials to service delivery points to assess the state of delivery and engage civil society to develop a structured approach for citizen based monitoring of frontline service delivery. Although this takes the form of surprise visits we also engage with the management of the service delivery points both before and after visits.
The aim is to provide them with useful toolkits to monitor and improve delivery of services. Examples of services to be monitored include home affairs, social grants, municipal services, vehicle licensing, police and health services. The focus of the monitoring is on the targets relating to service delivery quality in the outcome 12 delivery agreement, namely customer satisfaction, unit cost of services and other customer-oriented indicators such as waiting time in queues and response times.
Both ourselves as a department and the premiers offices are currently training officials to carry out these assessments. In this regard we have developed a number of assessment tools to be used by monitors. These include questionnaires and checklists which are currently piloting in provinces and in national departments as the Minister has indicated,
The President and various Ministers have been visiting and will continue to visit institutions such as hospitals, schools and police stations on and ongoing basis. One of the examples is the visit that we undertook to the Eastern Cape yesterday where we were monitoring schools.
Since my appointment to this portfolio I have started to undertake unannounced visits to service delivery sites such as hospitals, early childhood development facilities, Thusong service centres and municipalities. The visits include interaction with political leaders, officials and citizens at service delivery points.
When we visited KwaZulu-Natal we found that there is a nerve centre that tracks service delivery in the province. The centre has a dashboard which indicates where there is progress and challenges. In Mpumalanga and in the Free State we also found that there is already a monitoring nerve centres.
We also made unannounced visits in KwaZulu-Natal, KZN, to visit Northdale Hospital in Pietermaritzburg. Patients and staff share their challenges and experiences where services are rendered and how services are rendered. However, what was heartening for me was that our people understand that government is now working harder and faster. Patients even had suggestions on how we can improve service delivery which confirms the ANC's slogan and I quote, "working together we can build better communities"
So far we have visited six provinces and I want to say this that next week on Wednesday we are visiting the Western Cape. The commitment shown by the provincial leadership in ensuring that the Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation, PME, becomes a systematic culture of this ANC government is indeed encouraging.
In this regard the department is supporting the President in his hands-on monitoring programme and interactive approach. Therefore, the President and this government of the ANC must be appreciated. [Applause.]
Turning to citizen-based monitoring, citizens have a right to decent standard of service and have a responsibility themselves to hold government accountable through providing credible information about the quality of service both good and bad. This is true to the spirit and later of the Freedom Charter when it says, I quote: "The people shall govern".
The information collected by citizens should be fed back to service delivery departments to both affirm good practice and to advocate for improved services. In many countries governments have worked with nongovernment organisations, NGOs and community-based organisations, CBOs, to facilitate citizen-based monitoring which involve developing the monitoring instrument to be implemented by citizens employed by NGOs and COBs.
We have ourselves recently initiated discussions with the community advocacy and monitoring project of South African Social Security Agent and the Black Sash regarding the expansion of similar citizen- based service delivery monitoring initiatives in South African. And we intend to take this work forward over the coming year.
Our department is currently working with other departments and spheres of government to address issues raised by the President, by citizens through the presidential hotline and through face to face to the President and ourselves in Balfour, Bekkersdal, Umzimkhulu, Sweetwaters, Madelakufa, Umthatha, Libote . Bethlehem, Mossel Bay and Struisbaai. The list continues.
In addition we are in the process of establishing an African monitoring and evaluation learning network which will be kick started with an African conference on Monitoring and Evaluation, M and E, later this year in conjunction with some other academic institutions and other international organisations. The conference will be attended by officials from other African countries which are implementing or planning to implant performance monitoring and evaluation initiatives similar to those being implemented by us in the country.
On issues raised by the President in his state of the nation address government has declared 2011 a year of job creation. In his state of the nation address President Jacob Zuma indicated that this department must provide a report on the filling of vacant funded posts within six months and monitor the work of government departments with regard to job creation. This work is underway and I'm pleased to report that.
We are working with the Department of Public Service and Administration, DPSA, on the filling of vacant funded posts. We have done a situational assessment which gives us a picture of what interventions are required. In summary, the results to date indicate that government as a whole has made very good progress in filling vacant funded posts.
In conclusion, with regard to monitoring job creation we have been working closely with the Department of Economic Development to put in place a range of mechanisms to monitor the impact of the state on job creation. We are also working with Statistics South Africa which collets information from the private sector on its job creation. We are confident that we will be able to give a comprehensive report in August this year.
I also would like to just quickly, probably, I must say it in my own language so that I can say it better.
Loko Presidente Jacob Zuma a sungula Ndzawulo ya Vulanguteri bya Matirhelo na Nkambelo ku katsa na Mafambiselo eHofisini ya Presidente miehleketo ya yena na mfumo wa ANC a yi ri ku endla leswaku ku antswisiwa vukorhokeri eAfrika Dzonga. Ndzi swi teka kuri ku rhandza tiko ra yena ra Afrika Dzonga. Vanhu va Afrika Dzonga va fanele ku n'wi seketela na ku hi seketela hikuva i mfumo wo sungula wa ANC eAfrika Dzonga ku ta na Ndzawulo leya Vulanguteri bya Matirhelo na Nkambelo ku katsa na Mafambiselo eHofisini ya Presidente leyi lavaka ku voniwa hi mani na mani, ku lwa na vanhu lava nga endleki ntirho, ku lwa na vanhu lava nga na vukungundzwani, ku antswisa mitirho na ku hundzula vutomi bya vanhu va Afrika Dzonga.
Ndzi tshemba leswku mihlangano leyin'wana leyi nga kona eAfrika Dzonga yi ta n'wi seketela President Jacob Zuma na mfumo wa ANC.[Va ba mavoko]
Chairperson, let me lastly take this opportunity to pay respect to our stalwart, Ma Sisulu who have taught us to be what we are as the ANC. She taught us to be transparent, to deliver service to the people, to be transparent as we are, to deliver service to the people of South Africa with pride and dignity.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank the President and my colleagues in the executive, the Minister, Collins Chabane, the entire team in the department and in the Presidency, as well as my family for supporting me at all time. Thank you very much, Chairperson. [Applause.]
Mrs J M MALULEKE / END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY
Mrs J M MALULEKE: Thank you Chairperson, hon Minister in the Presidency, hon Deputy Minister, hon Members, comrades and distinguish guests, at its 52nd National Conference in Polokwane, the ANC noted that the state machinery needed coordination and integration to deliver to its commitments. The conference recommended for greater monitoring and evaluation of performance by various government departments in an ongoing manner. There is a legitimate expectation from the electorates and society as a whole that our government will deliver on its promises.
In an emerging democracy like ours, huge inequalities and legacy of racial discrimination we need strong monitoring systems to ensure that our public sector is able to perform its function for the better life for all our people. In his state of the nation address, President Jacob Zuma declared 2011 a year of job creation. President recognises growing levels of unemployment and poverty. This commitment necessitates coordination and monitoring of efforts to create jobs within government. When the ANC government reconfigured the Cabinet structure, the main goal was to deliver on our 2009 Election Manifesto to ensure implementation of key five priorities. I can't name them, we know them all of us.
This commitment seeks to strengthen the public sector and ensure that it delivers to the needs of the majority of our poor people. In this regard, performance based public sector is critical. We need to ensure evaluation of the developmental impact of programmes implemented by government. We must consolidate and resolve to build a performance orientated public sector. This structure has to ensure that we have a public service delivery that is effective and efficient to meet the whole mandate we receive from our electorate.
Indeed this structure has already had positive impact on the effectiveness of various government departments. We have recently witnessed a number of developments within government in an attempt to improve performance of the public sector.
Hina lava hi tshamaka emakaya ha swi vona, lava va nga swi voniki hi lava va tshamaka emadoropeni. Loko mo langutisa eka Ndzawulo ya Maphorisa, loko wo bela riqhingo eka un'wana na un'wana loyi a tshamaka eMathibesdad, u ta ku hlamusela leswaku loko u pfula nandzu, u ta rhumeriwa sms yi ku nyika nomboro ya nandzu, yi tlhela yi ku nyika vito ra phorisa leri nga khoma nandzu wa wean. Eka Ndzawulo ya Xikaya, hina vanhu lava tshamaka ematikoxikaya, lava hi nga riki na mali, a hi hamba hi tsutsuma hi famba hi ya lava pasi, hi tlhele hi famba hi tiofisi to hambana ku ya ri kamba. Namuntlha a ha ha tsutsumi na tona, u ta rhumeriwa sms u tivisiwa leswaku, pasi ra wena ri amukeriwile, naswona u fanele ku tlhelela u ya ri teka hi siku ro karhi. A wa ha tsutsumatsutsumi hi mali leyi u nga riki na yona, u famba u ri karhi u swi tiva leswaku pasi ra wean ri kona. Hi swin'wana leswi swi hi kombisaka leswaku hakunene tindzawulo leti ti le ku antsweni.
We have recently witnessed a number of developments within government in an attempt to improve performance of public sector. These in the main involve the entrenchment of the outcomes approach to improve the performance of the state with particular focus on the key priorities. We believe that through the outcomes approach some weaknesses involving: lack of focus in government, challenges with interdepartmental coordination, and weaknesses in planning and implementation. It seems that the outcomes based approach is not a short term programme. Part of the purpose is to transform the state towards a result orientated institution with the task to deliver to the majority of our people.
Post apartheid state has a relationship with the majority of the poor people and workers. But this relationship should not be taken for granted. It should not be reduced to one way relationship of service delivery to the mass of the people. State is another site of struggle for power in order to meet the electoral mandate. In this regard electorates are not passive people waiting for delivery from the state; rather there must be interpenetration of ideas between the state and the people to advance transformation.
That is why for us planning, coordination, interventions and management practices in government should be informed by the consistent changing needs of our people to ensure mutual implementation. While we need to build state capacity to deliver on its mandate, equally we must build capacity of electorates to take charge of their destiny. However the state of the nation address committed government to ensure its identified targets are met through oversight role by this department. We welcome the emphasis on accountability and monitoring systems including performance agreements between the President and the Ministers. We also note that the Department of Public Service and Administration is driving a process to ensure effective and results orientated performance.
We hope this initiative will lead to greater accountability for poor performance. We need to improve on our expenditure to ensure value for money. Public resources should be spent on appropriate projects for the purpose of changing society for the better life for all. In this regard administration throughout government departments need to be strengthened with regard to their mandates and responsibilities. Improving human resource and management development is necessary as proposed in the state of the nation address, sona. Sona made it clear that there would be monitoring of the process of filing vacant posts in government, performance and nature of training.
Gaps and weaknesses at administrative level such as lack of human and financial resources tend to have negative impact on oversight role and integrated public performance. The department acknowledges this reality as it has made submission to the National Treasury for increased funding to enable employment of staff to engage in monitoring of performance of individual departments and municipalities, particularly public sector administration oversight branch. We ensure integrated public performance data systems for efficiency and good governance. Various departments at all levels of local, provincial and national should develop their performance management system in a manner that encourages smooth monitoring and improved outcome.
Linked to this is the involvement of other stakeholders in partnership with government in promoting efficient services. We believe that initiatives like these will help the state build a caring society. Such a state should continually implement integrated anti-poverty programmes, integration of all communities into economic activities. Indeed, integrated approaches should ensure that the state has capacity to fight crime and corruption. This is not to suggest that crime and corruption challenge is unique to the public sector alone. There are perceptions of corruption and lack of accountability and transparency within the private sectors and those institutions receive funding from the state, and should we pay less attention to other sectors of society, then we are running a risk of not achieving our national democratic society.
This is because different sectors would likely to pull in different directions in society. In conclusion, the relevance of monitoring and evaluation of performance is beyond doubt. There is need for more resources on this department in order to carry its mandate for the better life of all our people. We must also monitor the performance of those who claim to have autonomy and freedom and ask them to account because they represent our national assets which are meant to serve our communities. There are key tasks requiring the Budget of this department to grow. As ANC we support Budget Vote 6 on Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation. Thank you, Chair.
Mr S L TSENOLI /NN / END OF TAKE
Mrs J M MALULEKE
Mr S L TSENOLI:
The MINISTER IN THE PRESIDENCY: PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND EVALUATION, AS WELL AS ADMINISTRATION IN THE PRESIDENCY: Hon Chairperson and members of the House, you have made very valuable contributions to the work that we are doing. We appreciate the support, encouragement and the suggestions which have been made. We believe that we will be able to work together as we proceed and go forward. Let me just comment on a few issues which have been raised - just to provide clarity.
My apologies Chair if I am going to use wrong titles. I know that from the opposition they have shadow something, for example, shadow minister and so forth, therefore I am not sure if I will be speaking to the shadow president. [Laughter.] If my comment is wrong, please Sir, accept my apology. Let me proceed.
The Leader of the Opposition, hon Trollip, went all over the place. There is very little in what he said, relating to our work. Therefore, sometimes it is difficult to comment on it. Nevertheless, sometimes I feel obliged to comment on things, just to clarify some issues.
Let me start with the issue concerning the Bills. I think the House understands how Bills are processed. Parliament put the Bills, send them to the President for assessment, and after that he certifies them, making sure that they were constitutional and legal. If he is not satisfied, he would send them back to Parliament. That process needs to be followed. You can't do that overnight. It takes time for Bills to be setup.
When coming to the question of the Information Bill, which is now in Parliament, I am not sure how it comes into this debate. It is being debated somewhere and has nothing to do with this portfolio or the Presidency. I don't know how I should respond.
With regard to the National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, next week we will be debating it. We are not debating it today. The NYDA does not belong to this debate. It belongs to the Presidency. Next week we will be debating the NYDA, and will respond to the issues raised in that debate.
I agree with issue of the quotations, which took about 50% of the speech. They are quotations made by a wise man and nobody can faulty on that. Therefore I can't comment further than that. On the issue concerning the Premiers and the municipalities, you should remember that when coming to Parliament, we elected the President, meaning that the executive authority lies with him. He then appoints Ministers to execute the executive authority on his behalf, which then becomes part of the executive. The same thing happens to the Premier after having been elected by the legislature.
There is no constitutional link between the President and the Premiers. Premiers have no oversight or authority over premiers. Premiers are elected by provincial legislatures and they account to them. It is only in relation to the Appropriation that the provinces must comply with the national laws. They do not pass laws or do anything which can contradict the national laws and so on.
In a system like that, where you have spheres of government, the critical issue is to emphasise the co-operative governance's portion of it. They should ensure that there is working together and agreement. The laws passed are sufficient for us to provide the mechanism of working together with provinces and municipalities, not in an adversarial manner, but one which seeks to build a united, coherent state and government. That is what we are doing.
We do not go to provinces, ramping anything through their throats. We co-operate, have discussions, sit in minmecs, and ensure that they understood everything. They all sign the documents, showing that they understood what their roles were. If there are challenges, they then come back to us, telling us that they thought there was going to be a challenge somewhere.
That co-operative type of system is the one which will seek to improve the system. Once you implement the performance and the evaluation system, there should be rewards and sanctions. It doesn't takeaway any of those, but should be based on an understandable and focussed system.
When I was still in Limpopo, in the Department of Public Works, during the floods in 2000, you would go to a place and find that the bridge was washed away and people were blocked out from all the sides. We tried to make a temporary bridge over the river. One gentleman's shoe fell into the water. He wanted us to go and retrieve it. The river was ranging very violently. He accused us of not performing because we could not retrieve his shoe from the river. [Laughter.]
We are trying to avoid situations like those. We don't want to see ourselves all over the place and doing everything. At the beginning, we indicated that we would choose the most critical parts of the things we needed to do, in order to improve the performance of government and service delivery to our people. Let us perfect those ones. Once we can do them perfectly, surely the impact they will have on the society will be bigger than trying to do 100 things and end up having done nothing.
We are going to build this system incrementally. We are not in a short-term mission. We are trying to change the functionality of the whole machinery of state, from local government to parastatals and everywhere else; not even from the mechanisms, culture, and thinking from bureaucrats to revocrats. It is a major mission. You have to change how things should be done. As we proceed, we should take the society and everybody onboard.
Lastly, we have indicated that for every step we take, we should try and do a pilot, learn lessons, perfect the system and implement. Our pilot phase does not take too long. We do them quickly in collaboration with other institutions, making sure that we move speedily.
On service delivery, regarding how we respond to citizenry we piloted in Home Affairs. That was our pilot project. We are now satisfied and have learned sufficient lessons. We know which technology works and which one doesn't. We also know how the system should work. We can now roll it out to other areas where there are people depending on queues or speedy responses of departments. We are going there.
The Department of Home Affairs won an award from the United Nations for the improvement they made so far in this short space of time. [Applause.] We are definitely sure that with the steps we are taking, Parliament and the society won't regret. In partnership with you and the society out there, we are going to make significant changes and impact in this country. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr C T Frolick): Thank you hon Minister. Members are reminded that there will be a sitting of the National Assembly this afternoon at three in the National Assembly Chamber.
The Committee rose at 11:48.
.../TM / END OF TAKE
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